iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps include a new word game with challenging rules and a racing game that will send you back to your childhood.


When I was at Macworld a couple of weeks ago, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I had my eyes peeled for upcoming iPhone apps. Certainly the new 17-inch MacBook and the updates to iWork and iLife were at the top of my priority list, but once I started walking around the show floor, my mind quickly turned to iPhone apps.

There were several on display, but one game at the Freeverse booth from developer Strange Flavour caught my eye immediately. I didn't say anything about it in previous posts because I wanted to wait until it was released to see just how good it was. Hint: The wait was worth it.

This week's apps are both games (big surprise there). One of the games recently made its way onto the iPhone "What's Hot" list at the iTunes Store, and the other game (from Freeverse) was released this morning and is on sale at a reduced price for the next 72 hours.

You\'ll never believe me, but I swear I found "words" when I went to make a screenshot! (Credit: CBS Interactive)

WordsWorth ($1.99) is a challenging and addictive word game in which you make as many words as you can before time runs out by connecting letters together. Once you make a word and hit submit, those letters are removed from the board and replaced with new ones. Like the board game Scrabble, each letter has a number value, so making words using letters with higher-number values is part of the challenge. To add to the tension, some tiles have different properties, including a multiplier tile (green) and tiles that will explode (red) if you don't finish a round in time. You also can shake your iPhone to get new letters if you can't find any words, but there is a penalty. With excellent graphics, special letter tiles, and a haunting (though repetitive) soundtrack, WordsWorth is a great game for anyone who likes word games.

SlotZ Racer
Be sure to let off on the throttle for the turns or your race might be over quickly. (Credit: CBS Interactive)

SlotZ Racer is a slot-car racing game for iPhone with tons of tracks, unlockable cars, and a track editor for endless replayability. When the light turns green, use the touch screen to control throttle as you race around the track. Make sure to slow down for curves or (like old-school slot-car sets) your car will fly from the track, making you lose valuable time. You can choose from three different camera modes, including a full shot of the entire track, a moving camera that follows the action, or a trailing camera that follows right behind your car. Play a single race against the AI or play championship mode to earn trophies and unlock new tracks and cars. You can also play multiplayer on the same iPhone with up to three other people with throttle buttons at each corner of the iPhone screen.

Though I've said it before (and I will probably say it again), SlotZ Racer is probably my favorite game for the iPhone to date. If you grew up with slot-car sets or just like racing games, this game is a must-have for iPhone or iPod Touch. The ability to build complex tracks makes it an even better deal. The introductory price for the next 72 hours is 99 cents, but after that, SlotZ will be available for $2.99. It's a steal at both prices, but get it now!

What's your favorite iPhone app? How does WordsWorth measure up against other word games for the iPhone? Did you have a slot-car track as a kid? Let me know in the comments!

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.